Featuring a vast open bog, beautiful sunsets and fantastic hiking trails, Bemidji Lake State Park is a popular RV destination for people seeking recreation and relaxation. Located on the north end of Lake Bemidji, the park is the remnants of the last stage of the glacier in Minnesota. As the ice melted some 10,000 years ago, rock, gravel and soil were deposited to create the landscape in the park. A interesting fact about Lake Bemidji State Park is that the landscape is not fixed and it continues to slowly change due to the impact of erosion and shoreline wave action.
For hundreds of years the lands in and around the park and lake were inhabited by the Dakota people and their ancestors. They hunted and fished around Lake Bemidji until Europeans moved to the region and began to log the park in the late 19th century. The Minnesota State Government purchased the land and in doing so preserved a few remaining areas of old growth forest. The park was officially opened in 1923 and consisted of 421 acres but expanded over the years and now is 1,600 acres.
Recreational activities are on offer all year round at Lake Bemidji State Park. The lake is home to a lot of these, but you can also go hiking and biking during the warmer months. Once the snow falls cross country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are very popular. There are 95 RV friendly camping sites to choose from, including 43 electric sites that have a 30 amp connection. All camping is available through mid-May to mid-October and peak season at the park is also is during this time.
Lake Bemidji State Park is located in central Minnesota on the north end of Lake Bemidji. The park is around five miles from the city of Bemidji, which is the largest commercial center between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth. Besides Bemidji there are a few other small towns located not too far from the park, including Birchmont, Wilton and Blackduck. Unlike some other parks in the state, this location is very easy to get to. Although there are a few smaller local roads that provide park access the easiest way to get to the park is via the US-71 Old and Birchmont Beach Road NE.
The terrain when approaching the park is quite flat and there should be no issues or obstacles. Once you reach the entrance to the park and the campground you may have issue with overhanging trees if you are coming in with a big rig. Since the park is so forested there are many tree branches that could cause damage if not properly navigated. We recommend calling ahead to the park if you are traveling with a rig that is 38 feet or longer so they can help out with you entering the campground.
There is plenty of parking at Lake Bemidji State Park.
Unfortunately there are no public transport options to reach Lake Bemidji State Park.
The campgrounds at Lake Bemidji State Park offer a wide variety of choices for those traveling in an RV. In total the campground has 95 drive-in sites, including 43 electric sites that have 30 amp connection, Four of them are also suitable to use as pull-through sites and there are also four handicapped accessible sites. The campground has some great facilities, including water collection points, flush & vault toilets, hot showers and a dump station. You can also access free WiFi at the nearby park office, which is a luxury that not many state parks offer.
The sites in the campground are mostly shaded and some are very private. Due to the amount of trees it can be difficult to navigate an RV around 38 feet or longer due to the many overhanging branches. If you think you will have trouble you can ask the park ranger for help and they will direct you to the most accessible site in the campground.
The campground is open in winter, however only one site is available to drive-in and it is non-electric. Other sites are available on a walk-in basis after deep snow cover, but make sure you check out the forecast to see if the conditions are worth making the trip.
No matter whether you are a seasoned fisher or a beginner, Lake Bemidji State Park will be a great place to cast a line. The lake is one of the top fishing destinations in all of Minnesota and is connected to a system of lakes, including Lake Irving upstream and Stump Lake downstream on the Mississippi River. ADA accessible fishing can also be done at the park thanks to the fishing pier that is located on the bank of the lake. Common species caught on the lake include walleye, bass, muskie, perch, crappies, pan fish and trout.
During the warmer summer months hiking in and around Lake Bemidji is a great way to see the natural landscape of the area. A great inclusion is that there are two miles of disability friendly trails (the boardwalk and Rocky Point trail) so everyone can have the opportunity to hike. Along with the disability accessible trails there are also 15 miles of easy to moderate hiking trails that will take you through areas of maturing pine, aspen and hardwood forests.
Along with the nature centre you can also learn more about the park through interpretive programs. They are run during the summer and the winter months, with some of the summer programs including, morning hikes, boat tours of Lake Bemidji, campfire talks and evening films. During the winter, snowshoeing, candlelight skiing, and animal tracking are all programs that can be participated in. These programs are offered from Wednesday through Sunday from mid-June through Labor Day. The fall, winter and spring programs are usually only offered on weekends.
Throughout the year there is a Visitor Center at Lake Bemidji State Park that contains information about the park's trails, animals and geology. There are also some interesting exhibits, films and slide programs available for you to look at. We recommend the Nature Centre if you want to learn more about the history of the park and the wildlife that calls it home. A complete list of programs and special programs can be found at the park office or the centre itself.
Like the majority of Minnesota, Lake Bemidji State Park transforms into a winter wonderland once it starts to get cold. The high snowfall creates many popular winter recreation opportunities at the park. For cross country skiers, there are 11 miles of groomed cross country ski trails. For the snow snowmobile fans there are three miles trails that also connect with an extensive trail system beyond the park. If you would like to do some snowshoeing they are available for rent during the winter from the park office.
Lake Bemidji and the surrounding forests in the state park offers some fantastic environments for birds. For the bird watching fans you will have hours of entertainment and enjoyment as the area is the hub of bird watching in Minnesota. The varied natural landscapes provide homes and habitat for a wide range of birds, including warblers, woodpeckers, hawk, least flycatchers and the yellow billed cuckoo. Group bird watching events are also held throughout the year, so make sure to check out the park website to see if any will be happening during your stay.